BY Art Thiel 07:07PM 09/16/2013

Thiel: Okung out Sunday; penalties still a plague

Seahawks LT Russell Okung, the Pro Bowler in charge of protecting Russell Wilson’s back, will miss Sunday’s game against Jacksonville, and possibly more.

LT Russell Okung has an injured toe that will keep him out Sunday and perhaps a lot longer. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

If it weren’t the Jacksonville Jaguars coming to town Sunday, the Seahawks’ offense might be in some trouble.  Fortunately for Seattle, the Jags might be the worst team in the NFL — they are 19.5-point underdogs —  so they can probably slide for a week without LT Russell Okung and without having solved the penalty problems that keep setting back the attack.

Okung injured a toe in the first quarter of Sunday’s 29-3 whipping of the 49ers, and didn’t return to the game. Some reports have Okung’s injury as a serious ligament problem, but Carroll said tests were still being done and could not say for certain that it wouldn’t be season-ending.

“There’s a little bit of spectrum here that could come to us with options,” Carroll said Monday. “I don’t know yet.”

LG Paul McQuistan moved over to replace Okung, and struggled at times with the assignment. Another possibility is rookie Alvin Bailey, who is listed as Okung’s backup, though he has yet to play.

Even though the Seahawks managed 172 yards rushing against a good 49ers defense, they were frequently set back by penalties, mostly on the offense. They had 10 for 84 yards, althougth the Niners “won” the flag battle with 12 for 121 yards.

“Just kind of concerned that we are just not as sharp as we need to be,” Carroll said. “We addressed it today in terms of details and doing things right. It’s not as clean as we want to be, and there is a lot of potential there that we know is ready to be shown.

“Our production was good but I think our efficiency isn’t where we want it to be — too many negative plays yesterday.”

The point was echoed post-game by center Max Unger, who had two holding calls.

“It was terrible,” he said. “We had so many penalties. I have one holding call in five years and I get two tonight. It was just not good. If we eliminated half the penalties, it wouldn’t have been as close as it was.

“One of these days we’re going to put together a game that is indicative of how we prepare, but today wasn’t it.”

Kaepernick hits NFL low

Speaking of bad performances,  San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick had the worst one of the NFL’s early season Sunday. With his three picks and 13 of 28 passing performance, his quarterback rating of 20.1 was the worst in the NFL so far, heading into Monday night.

Until Kaepernick’s miserable night in Seattle, which also included three sacks and a fumble, Jacksonville’s Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne combined in week one for a rating of 36.3. Geno Smith of the New York Jets was 27.6 against the Patriots last weekend.

Kaepernick is 0-2 against Seattle, whereas his QB predecessor in San Francisco, Alex Smith was 3-0. Harbaugh at midseason in 2012 replaced Smith with Kaepernick, who led them to the NFC Championship.

SF’s Williams irked about injury

49ers nose tackle Ian Williams left the game in the first quarter with a broken ankle, the result of a cut block by Seattle’s RG J.R. Sweezy, and Niners teammate Patrick Willis believes the rules should be changed.

“I feel like as a linebacker or a D-lineman, any cut . . . it’s a man sport — be a man, hit me up high,” Willis told “Hit like rams. You don’t see a ram going and cutting another ram’s legs. They hit head to head, pad to pad.”

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he did not know whether Williams’ ankle was broken but acknowledged that Sweezy’s block was “legal, the way the rules are set up.”

But Willis obviously is not a fan of the rule.

“I feel like that’s something the league should look into more,” he said. “You see some of that stuff, and it’s uncalled for. You have a guy who’s 300 pounds cutting a guy who’s 250 pounds. Do physics to that. Hit the man up high. It should be a good collision.

“You’re not talking about a concussion and being out for two weeks. You’re talking about being down for the rest of the season if you get hit good like that.”


  • RadioGuy

    Russell Okung hurt? Never thought I’d see that happen.

    As for the penalties, that to me is the one thing that could really derail the Seahawks’ march to the Super Bowl this year. The talent is there (if everyone stays healthy), but the discipline isn’t. I hope people were paying attention to how the 49ers self-destructed Sunday and took notes. The only team in the NFC that looks capable of beating Seattle this year is Seattle.

  • Matt712

    The penalties can and should certainly be cut down. But they are also a trade-off for the type of team the Seahawks are: super athletic, hyper-aggressive, and most of all, YOUNG. It’s a fine line to walk. While it’s natural to want to minimize penalties and and maximize discipline, I’m not sure it’s entirely possible with this team. And I’m just fine with that.

  • jafabian

    Verrry nervous about the possibility of Okung being out for an extended period of time. Especially if he’s out for any of the five games after the Jags game. That’s gonna be a long stretch. Wish the club could have found a veteran in the offseason to back him up instead of having to rely on a rookie. Okung’s injury history is too well documented.